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Implementing the Barcelona Principles into PR Practice

Posted on: May 17th, 2011 by Brittany Dorfner No Comments

In June of 2010, measurement industry representatives gathered in Barcelona, Spain and agreed upon seven principles. While these principles clarified some industry controversies, including the use of false multipliers and Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) and how to measure social media success, they left some unanswered, such as, “How do we implement these successfully?”

To continue the discussion, public relations leaders gathered in London in November 2010 to address two questions: What do we use in place of AVEs, and how do we make sense of the approximately 300 suppliers of social media measurement? OneVoice (a combined agency of Omnicom companies) shares insight into implementing the Barcelona Principles, including:

  • Budget for measurement up front: Figure 5 percent of your total PR spend, including fees and pass-through costs, for measurement services and internal resources.
  • Talk the language of business: PR measurement has to talk the language of business to ensure executives see the value of public relations. Many companies keep track of how they’re doing with customers using a Net Promoter Score, even giving bonuses to staff members based on how they perform against that metric.
  • Barcelona PrinciplesTake one approach: Take one approach to measurement and stick to it. Continue ongoing maintenance and improvement to ensure success and to allow for comparisons and evaluation down the road.
  • Adopt a new mindset: Move away from the “more is better” mindset. Instead, focus on measuring only those media (traditional and social) that are most important to your client or company’s reputation and business.
  • Align your objectives: Start with your organizational and business objectives, and use them to build your measurement approach and system.

“The Barcelona Principles set the standards. The future is about smart measurement, proper budgets, the language of business and consistency across an organization in how we approach traditional and social media.”

As PR professionals, it’s our job to not only make sense of these principles and implement them as part of an overall PR strategy, but also to show their importance and necessity to executives. Once you’ve developed a successful measurement strategy that showcases the return on your PR investment, you can provide proof that PR has value and demonstrate its importance in any business plan.

Thanks to Andre Manning and David B. Rockland, Ph.D., for their insights in the Spring 2011 issue of PRSA Strategist on “Understanding the Barcelona Principals”.

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